Winds of Change: Impact of COVID-19 on Vaccine-Related Opinions of Twitter Users

Authors

  • Soham Poddar Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India
  • Mainack Mondal Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India
  • Janardan Misra Accenture Labs, Bangalore, India
  • Niloy Ganguly Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany
  • Saptarshi Ghosh Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India

Keywords:

Social network analysis; communities identification; expertise and authority discovery, Text categorization; topic recognition; demographic/gender/age identification, Subjectivity in textual data; sentiment analysis; polarity/opinion identification and extraction, linguistic analyses of social media behavior, Social innovation and effecting change through social media

Abstract

Today, administering COVID-19 vaccines at a societal scale has been deemed as the most appropriate way to defend against the COVID-19 pandemic. This global vaccination drive naturally fueled a possibility of pro-vax and anti-vax users strongly expressing their supports and concerns regarding the vaccines in online social media platforms. Understanding this online discourse is crucial for policy makers. This understanding is likely to impact the success of vaccination drives and might even impact the final outcome of our fight against the pandemic. The goal of this work is to improve this understanding using the lens of Twitter-discourse data. We first develop a classifier to categorize users according to their vaccine-related stance with high precision (97%). Using this method we detect and investigate specific user-groups who posted about vaccines in pre-COVID and COVID times. We specifically identify distinct topics that these users talk about, and investigate how vaccine-related discourse has changed between pre-COVID times and COVID times. Finally, for the first time, we investigate the change of vaccine-related stances in Twitter users and shed light on potential reasons for such changes in stance.

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Published

2022-05-31

How to Cite

Poddar, S., Mondal, M., Misra, J., Ganguly, N., & Ghosh, S. (2022). Winds of Change: Impact of COVID-19 on Vaccine-Related Opinions of Twitter Users. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 16(1), 782-793. Retrieved from https://ojs.aaai.org/index.php/ICWSM/article/view/19334